I think that Chris K's advice is spot-on, but I would leaven it just a bit.
Take charge, but take charge of the _dancing_, not of the music. Don't try
to tell musicians what to play or how to play it when you don't know what
you are talking about. But you DO know what you are talking about with
dancing, and approach it from that perspective: This is what I need for the
dancing to be successful: no vocals, a constant tempo, play until I tell
you to stop, etc. If you respect their area of expertise, they will respect
I would be wary of providing sheet music; even if you give them the perfect
tune, what they will play may sound nothing like what you are expecting.
I've learned from experience that even when a band knows a specific tune,
you may still be very surprised by what you get.
Definitely try to get there very early and talk with the musicians. Find
out what they are comfortable doing, then modify whatever you do to fit in
with that. (I agree with Chris, from your description, the chances they
play any jigs are pretty minimal). Be ready with dances that do not need
standard-length As and Bs to work, e.g. the paddle dance, Edinburgh Rock, a
Another reason to get there early is to figure out what the sound setup for
this gig is. Are you using a band mic? Are they expecting you to work from
the floor without a microphone? etc.
St Paul, MN
1a. Need musical advice
Posted by: "Kalia Kliban" kalia.kliban(a)gmail.com kalia(a)sbcglobal.net
Date: Mon Jun 6, 2016 5:19 pm ((PDT))
I'm posting this to several different callers' lists (ECD,
trad-dance-callers and shared weight) in hopes of some speedy advice.
I'm heading off shortly (Weds. evening, 6/8) for an event that is not a
dance event, but at which I've been asked to lead a short community
dance session on "honky tonk night." The band for this is _not_ a
traditional dance band. They're more of a garage band with bar-band
aspirations. I wrote to them several weeks ago to check in about music,
and when I didn't hear back, wrote again about a week ago. Then again,
and finally heard back right as I was getting ready to leave for the
airport for a weekend gig, from which I've just returned.
Their contact person tells me that sheet music would be useful, which
puts me in the position of trying to figure out a very small assortment
of tunes to send them. We're doing about 1/2 hour of dancing, so at the
most it'll be 3 dances. With 2 jigs and 2 reels I can make this work.
The question is "which ones?" And that's where you all come in. I'm
looking for recommendations for a small assortment of simple, enjoyable
tunes for community dancing. As a non-musican, I have no idea which
tunes are easy to pick up quickly and which aren't, so I'm hoping some
of you can help me out.